Callistemon phoeniceus, Lesser Bottlebrush
Callistemon phoeniceus is one of only two Callistemons endemic to Western Australia and is known as the Lesser Bottlebrush. The significance of this name escapes us but perhaps there was a comparison with Callistemon glaucus, the other WA bottlebrush. We feel that they are both equally handsome and colourful bottlebrushes.
Callistemon phoeniceus is an erect shrub that reaches a height of two metres in our cold climate garden. Juvenile leaves are light green whilst adult foliage is an interesting grey-green (see thumbnail). The adult foliage provides a contrast with the brilliant red flower spikes that appear from late winter to early summer. Flowering extends for many weeks. Honeyeaters are attracted to the flowers.Remove the spent flowers. This keeps plants dense and flowering profusely.
Callistemon phoeniceus grows naturally along watercourses and in depressions. At Yallaroo, we have a number of specimens that are surviving and thriving in dry, well-drained situations.
The species prefers full sun or light shade and will cope with frosts and drought.
Callistemon phoeniceus could be cultivated in an informal hedge or low windbreak. There is a dwarf form known as Callistemon phoeniceus 'Prostrate'.
The species name means bright red and of course refers to the flower colour.
Propagate from seed or cuttings.
Warren and Gloria Sheather